a region in NW Africa on the Atlantic coast, bounded by Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania: a former Spanish province comprising Río de Oro and Saguia el Hamra 1884–1976; divided between Morocco and Mauritania 1976; claimed entirely by Morocco 1979, but still under dispute. About 102,700 sq. mi. (266,000 sq. km).
a disputed region of NW Africa, on the Atlantic: mainly desert; rich phosphate deposits; a Spanish overseas province from 1958 to 1975; partitioned in 1976 between Morocco and Mauritania who faced growing resistance from the Polisario Front, an organization aiming for the independence of the region as the Democratic Saharan Arab Republic. Mauritania renounced its claim in 1979 and it was taken over by Morocco. Polisario agreed to a UN-brokered ceasefire in 1991 but attempts to settle the status of the region have failed. Pop: 538 811 (2013 est). Area: 266 000 sq km (102 680 sq miles) Former name (until 1975) Spanish Sahara